To give you an example. Did you know that a fiddle can sound like a noteless blow in saxophone? I didn't know that. The tracks 'Mirr' and 'Aitran' taught me that. Then again, nothing is really normal or usual on this album. I mean, when I think of the fiddle, I think of songs like 'The Devil Went Down To Georgia', not about eerily creeping acoustic strings that have the power to send shivers down my spine. That never occurred to me.
Sarah-Jane Summers is Scottish but lives and works on Norway. She holds a master's degree in Norwegian traditional music. She started recording this debut solo album after a two-week trip to Montreal where she performed with the contemporary string quartet Quatuor Bozzini. The album is inspired by extreme weather conditions. The booklet explains the titles. My favorite track here, 'Aisk', means "A haze, mist, bank of fog". No wonder it's my favorite.
As I wrote earlier, the album is not a collection of joyful fiddle tunes. These are experiments, ranging from avant garde classical music over eerie folk to harsh, intense outbursts of free jazz, all created by fiddle and viola. On 'Unbrak' Summers plucks the strings, on others the bow gently strikes the strings and a few tunes sounds as if Summers has been scratching the strings with spoons. So no, don't expect a nice Mozart-like tune here.
Still, unusual and strange as this album is, it's an interesting and often captivating study. I like how silence plays a role here too. But in the end, the most difficult question is, "who to recommend this album to?". Perhaps fans of experimental classical music will enjoy this and free jazz aficionados too. Ambient fans might find it a bit too abrasive at times but most of these songs are perfect ambient-remix material. In any case, this is a unique album, something definitely worth checking out. Damaged and torn as the sleeve is, I'm keeping this one...